Former Islamic Minister and former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s running mate in the 2018 presidential election, Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said he would return to the Maldives to resume political work after completing his tenure at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The service of Dr. Shaheem as an advisor to the Secretary General of OIC will end this December.
Shaheem’s announcement comes as the Parliament made the decision to investigate whether the statements he continues to make on the controversial MDN report are made in an official capacity of the OIC and on the instructions of the organization.
A letter sent to Parliament’s Speaker Mohamed Nasheed by central ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader Ali Azim asked to investigate whether Shaheem was questioning the country’s internal affairs on the OIC’s instructions.
Speaker Nasheed confirmed before the beginning of Monday’s parliamentary sitting that the letter was forwarded to the Committee on National Security and Foreign Relations. Mohamed Shareef, Chair of the Committee and Maradhoo MP, said they are currently investigating the matter.
Following the decision of the parliament, Shaheem said he would continue to condemn the report and despite threats, he would not shy away from speaking up against it.
Shaheem later published a wall of text on Facebook, revealing that he had been working for a total of one year at OIC and that his term would end in December. In December, he announced his plans to return to the Maldives to resume political work with former President Yameen and the Maldives Progressive Party (PPM).
Shaheem said in his post that he had not interfered with any of the country’s internal affairs, and said that his position at OIC did not prevent him from expressing his professional or scholarly opinion on a matter.
Shaheem said while serving as an Islamic minister and state minister under various administrations and serving as Maldives Islamic University’s vice-chancellor and chancellor, he believes he can give a professional and academic opinion on religious matters.
Shaheem further explained that he spoke on a personal capacity report on the issue of MDN, saying he does not condone threats and violence.
The report issued by the Maldivian Democratic Network (MDN) in 2016, titled ‘ Preliminary Assessment on Radicalisation in the Maldives’, questioned the values and teachings of Islam in the Holy Qur’an and disrespected Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), citing many passages from the Qur’an and ‘ Hadith ‘ of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) as examples of ideas that lead to promulgating radical world views.
The report’s content has drawn harsh criticism, with people and academics like Shaheem expressing their desire for action on the organization by the government. Although the organization has been temporarily suspended pending investigation, the Maldives Police Service is calling for investigative purposes on the authors of the report and other related individuals.
While the country’s vast majority are calling for MDN to be barred, religious scholars have urged the government to accelerate the organization’s ban process. Shaheem also expressed his views on the matter.